Angels Among Us
This story was written by a friend of mine, Wendy Grady. It so beautifully points out how God is so present in every detail of our lives.
Five days a week between the hours of 11:30 and 12:30 I walk through a nearby park that winds through majestically tall fir trees and along the clear blue green waters of the Bow River in our lovely city, Calgary, the city I grew up in. I cherish this time alone where I can pray openly or silently pray to myself. Sometimes having wonderful conversations with the Lord, other times just reciting the “Jesus Prayer.” After three years of walking the same paths a strange thing happened. I suddenly noticed a squirrel run across in front of me with a peanut, a peanut? Where on earth did he get a peanut?? I looked all around me but saw no one in sight and obviously we don’t have peanut groves here in Canada. As I continued my walk I kept wondering where on earth did that squirrel find a peanut?
The very next day instead of my usual quick pace, I chose to walk lazily following my normal route, absorbing the bright sunlight and really trying to notice all of God’s wondrous work. I was acutely aware of the dry brown leaves blowing off the trees and rolling along deep in song. Walking along the river I noticed the suns rays sparkling off the crystal clear waters and the geese splashing wildly during their morning bath. Then I saw him, an old man who looked of Jewish descent, short in stature wearing a black hat and long dark overcoat with big pockets. From a distance I could see at least eight to ten squirrels of various grey and black coloring standing up at his feet chattering to him. I came up in total wonderment and asked him if he was feeding them peanuts. Yes he said, I do it every day.
In total surprise I said, “Are you serious? I walk this every day and have never seen you before, how can that be?” The man replied, “Sometimes I come a little later.” The squirrels knew this man most assuredly as they sat up with their tiny paws outstretched. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then he quietly said something about the chickadees being thin this time of year and needing help. As he was speaking I followed his gaze to a branch of a tree less than a foot from my face and there they were! Tiny little chickadees, chattering away hoping the old man would feed them. Suddenly one of them flew in front of me landing on my left shoulder for just a moment. I gently put my right hand out and low and behold one of them landed right in the palm of my hand. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with joy that seemed to bubble up inside of me bursting out like I was a child with a new toy at Christmas. I also noticed the sun somehow seemed brighter. I just kept repeating to the gentlemen, “I can’t believe this; I can’t believe this! I have had chickadees nesting in my yard for years and never once did this happen.”
As I walked away I was in tears from the reality of knowing what I had been missing. Joy!!! At that moment I became fully aware that “joy” had been lacking in my life. It was a real awakening for me. Then I remembered last year while on a Mission in the West Indies a priest had prayed over me asking the Lord to “Bring this woman joy Lord, she needs joy in her life.” At the time I was confused, not fully understanding why he had chosen that word “joy” but now I do.
I truly felt the Lord’s presence; even the sunlight seemed brighter than usual. As I started to leave, squirrels were all around us sitting up begging for peanuts. The old man gently spoke to the squirrels and the tiny chickadees, and I honestly believe they recognized him. As his pockets were now empty, he said he was going home to get more seeds for the birds.
Wow! Lord I don’t know what to say except Thank You! You nourished my soul and brought light to my heart. It reminded me of St Francis, how perfect. Your wonder has never ceased to amaze me Lord. I took it all in like a starving child. The sunlight skipping across the river, the geese bathing and the sheer sheet of ice beginning to form at the water’s edge. This is God’s house. How blessed am I to know you so intimately? Your love for me is astounding. As I finished my walk I couldn’t stop the tears of joy running down my face. How blessed am I this day. Thank you Jesus as you continue to remind me that you are there in the simplest things.
Since that day I have continued to walk the same paths never seeing that gentleman again. I truly believe you sent an Angel to meet me that day.